- The prompt should relate to the week's assigned materials or topic(s). Outside research should not be required
- It should require knowledge or understanding made available via the class (texts, in-class discussion, etc.).
- The prompt should be answerable in 750 words or so.
- It should require demonstration of skills at multiple levels of Bloom's taxonomy (left).
My aim is to winnow their ideas down to a few good examples and select one of these for the weekly prompt.
What's the learning value of such an exercise? First, and most obviously, it functions as a way to motivate students to review the week's material. Second, it gets them thinking about the prompt beforehand, so it comes as a bit less of a surprise. Third, because the prompt results from collaboration among themselves and with me, students may feel a stronger sense of ownership with respect to the course. Lastly, by drawing attention to some of the higher levels in Bloom (apply, analyze, evaluate), students see that philosophical knowledge is not primarily propositional, but dispositional — it amounts to being able to do intellectually sophisticated things with information, not simply re-represent it. They may begin to see the contrast between deep and surface and learning. And it may well encourage students to study philosophy in the ways we've advocated here at ISW.
I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts both (a) about the benefits — and potential drawbacks — of such an exercise, and (b) how to maximize the learning value of exercises like this.